At Home Vacations and Nickle and Dime Get-a-ways

– johanna | April 3rd, 2009


In February, the local schools were out for Presidents week. The mother hen that I am, I loved having Mason home. We enjoyed sleeping in, staying up late, a morning in the mountains playing in the snow, a visit from Grandma and Grandpa, stomping in mud puddles and bike rides to the park on the days it was not raining.

Spring Break is coming up and like most families watching their cash, we want make the most of the week on very little spending. I learned about some really great ideas from the Family Fun website, Woman’s Day Magazine and other moms in the area for fun activities and adventures that will not break the bank.

At-home summer camp: Give each day a theme. Monday is park day, Tuesday is library day, Wednesday is swimming, Thursday is trip day- visit the zoo, go up the canyon for a hike, or some other fun activity. Friday is jar day- Write activities (bake cookies, jump on the trampoline, take a bath, play game, write a story, call a friend to play with) on slips of paper and place in a jar. Whatever they draw out, they need to do for at least a half hour.

Souvenirs: Kids mostly remember the special treats and souvenirs. If you plan on staying home, give the kids a little spending money. Take the kids out for a treat one evening. Going grocery shopping? Let them pick out a souvenir. It could be candy, a magazine or a pretty bar of soap.

The Plaza Hotel: Ever thought of getting into the Bed and Breakfast business? Now you can. Have the kids book a room at home. Complete with turn down service and a chocolate or an origami towel on the pillow. Make a mom and dad do not disturb sign. Create a room service breakfast menu with check off boxes. Clear the counter off and leave mini soaps and folded towels.

A Night Out: Fancy a little night life? Pull out the board games. Work on a puzzle. Watch a movie. Play glow in the dark volleyball or ghost in the graveyard.

Act like tourists: Take public transportation or walk.

Send Postcards: Buy or make postcards and send them to loved ones near or far.

Buy vacation food: Purchase single serving cereal boxes.

Back yard camping trip: Set up the tent in the backyard. Grab flashlights, the Coleman and a cooler of food and drinks. Tell stories and roast marshmallows just as you would on a camping trip.

Host an iron man chef contest: Host a family cook off.

Neighborhood Attractions: Take advantage of the best your state has to offer in your own backyard by spending the day carousing nearby cities and/or landmarks. Choose a different destination each day, returning home to sleep at night. Enjoy fishing, hiking, river rafting, whale watching, national parks, dinner cruises, the beach, an amusement park, museums, water parks, cave exploration, the zoo, historical tourist stops. Grab breakfast at home and do not forget to pack a cooler with snacks and lunch. Visit Trip Advisor for ideas on locales just  tank of gas .

Timeshares and camping: Book a timeshare or go camping. Both options are cheaper than a hotel stay and because the kitchen is on site you save on the cost of meals. Camp sites usually run from $16 dollars to $25 dollars a night. With the economy upside down a friend of mine says you can snag a timeshare for $200 a week.

Farm Stays: Ever wonder what life is like on a farm? Now you can get in the thick of things with a “haycation“. Dine on meals made with fresh picked food. Help gather eggs and milk a cow. Take a horse ride. Both working and non-working farms provide accommodations be it a room in the main farmhouse or a cabin located on the land. Farm stays can vary from bed and breakfast to dude ranch to actually lending a hand with the chores on the farm.

Airfare: Register with Airfare Watch Dog to get rock bottom steals on airfare tickets. A friend of mine purchased 2 round trip tickets to Iowa for $400 versus the $700 per ticket going rate. My sister found tickets from Florida to Califorina for under $200.

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  1. This is awesome, I have both kids home for Spring Break and wondering what the heck are we going to do that will not break our budget. Thanks for the ideas.

    Comment by Todd — April 6, 2009 @ 8:39 am

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